Sunday, October 2, 2016


Welcome to another installment of the TRASH BIN, where we watch the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, according to the critics, and give you our thoughts, good or bad. For the month of October, we are chronicling for you some classic gems in the horror genre. It’s only fitting, then, that October’s Trash Bin take on some of horror’s less-than-classic lumps of coal. So, for this week, I'll be reviewing the 2015 horror comedy...SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

Last year, Christopher Landon (whose previous directorial effort, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, proved his ability to make an unwatchably-bad movie) released the horror comedy, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, starring Tye Sheridan and David Koechner. Off of its $15 million budget, Scouts pulled in a global box office of just over $6 million. It was widely-panned by critics and audiences alike, earning a 45% and a 48% Rotten Tomatoes score from both respective groups.

I am shocked to say that I enjoyed this movie a lot. When you’re done throwing rotten tomatoes at me (figuratively and literally), I’ll explain. Horror comedies are my weakness. Later this month, you’ll see my review of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, one of my favorite films of all time. Last year’s The Final Girls, a much-better received teen-geared horror comedy, entertained me to no end. And don’t get me started on the sheer brilliance of Edgar Wright’s genre-defining Shaun of the Dead

Scouts Guide is not a modern classic. However, it is definitely worth watching if you know what you’re getting yourself into. Let’s start with the positives: Tye Sheridan’s rough chemistry with his character’s best friend, Logan Miller, sells this movie. As is often the case for horror comedies, it is the character dynamics that truly keep you engaged. You feel the high school naivete and energy exuding from them from the film’s start to end. Sarah Dumont, a cocktail waitress at a strip club that becomes their companion and protector is extremely likeable (and, obviously, extremely attractive -- which definitely helps). The characters are fun to watch and compelling enough to lock you into the story.

The plot is cliched, however it also doesn’t drag along or feel overly-forced. Honestly speaking, if you’re looking for a deep plot and also watching a movie called Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, that’s more your fault than that of the production team. From the very start, this movie refuses to be pretentious or deep in any way. Either you buy into the energy and ludicrous nature from the moment you hear the movie title or you’re simply watching the wrong film that night. If you walk in expecting an insane movie about zombies and boy scouts, you will get that and more. 

The final action scene was as over-the-top and entertaining as one would hope from an R-rated horror comedy aimed squarely at the teen market. I’ll avoid spoilers here and simply say the following five words: weed whackers and nail guns. If the thought of that doesn’t instantly make you start chuckling and want to watch the hell out of this movie, then I can’t believe you’ve made it this far through the review because horror comedies are probably not your thing. If, like me, that sounds to you like Citizen Kane-caliber cinema, then stop reading right now and rent this movie. You’ve read enough and should just watch the bloody flick. 

So, why was this movie panned by critics? Why did RT Top Critic and frequent Google “Did you mean Tom Hiddleston” search result, Tom Huddleston, say Scouts Guide “will make you want to punch the nearest teenage boy in the face?” There are valid problems with this movie. The script is very weak at times (usually due to forty-year-old screenwriters trying to force edgy teenage dialogue out of the mouth of twenty-four year old Logan Miller). The plot is nothing new. The scares are almost non-existent. The humor is juvenile. The acting is passable but nothing mind-blowing. 

Most fans of cheesy horror comedy will look at that paragraph above and say “that’s it?” Saying a horror comedy has average acting, weak plot, and lame dialogue is like saying a Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s is a bit greasy and burnt. Is it a legitimate problem? Yes. Is it a fair critique? Maybe not.

You see, where Scouts Guide succeeds and fails is in knowing exactly what it is. It opens on an overly-long, melodramatic lip-syncing dance to “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea performed by a character that *spoiler warning* dies instantly. It ends with zombies getting mowed down by weed whackers. It is a far-from-serious horror ride designed to make you roll your eyes and do that thing where you scream “oh, shit” at the screen and point while gasping out laughter. 

Does it succeed? For the most part, yes. Was it a bit more enjoyable when I watched it intoxicated as opposed to sober for this review? Sure. Is it World War Z? Hell no. Should it be? Hell no. Know what you’re getting yourself into. That goes for any movie, but especially this one. This movie is over-the-top, extreme, crude, and cheesy as f***. But if you’re along for that ride, it is so much fun. 

My final verdict on Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a solid 7/10. If I had felt a little bit more tension and fear while watching the movie, it would easily bump into the 8/10 range. It is definitely worth RedBoxing or renting. If you like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, it is probably even worth buying. Pour yourself your favorite drink, sit down with a bag of chips on the couch, and relax. You’re gonna have fun.


Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Metacritic: 32
Roger Ebert: 1/4


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1 comment:

  1. This movie was dumb but a lot of fun! I had a great time when I saw it last Halloween!